We’ve had a lot of great memories over the last four (or five) seasons of TCU Baseball, and in this series we’ll honor the seniors who have been here for the incredible ride that included four consecutive College World Series appearances. Traver battled injury for a large chunk of his college career, but when he was healthy, he was an invaluable part of the team in terms of leadership and on the field performance. Not only that, but healthy or not, he was one of the guys that gave everything he had to his teammates and the Frog faithful.
When he appeared on campus as a freshman he was ranked by Baseball America as the No. 37 freshman in college baseball. His struggles started almost immediately when he was he was forced to redshirt in the 2013 season due to sustaining an injury in the fall. As a redshirt freshman in 2014 he continued battling injury for most of the season, pitching just 1⁄3 of an inning all year.
In his redshirt sophomore year, 2015, he finally got the chance to show his stuff. He made the starting rotation in the weekday slot and led all starters with a 1.89 ERA in 14 starts. He was 10-4 in games he started and 2-0 in two relief appearances. Along the way he collected 77 strikeouts in 76 1⁄3 innings pitched.
It was in that year when he reached legendary status with his relief performance in TCU’s 16 inning win over Texas A&M to clinch a College World Series birth. Entering the game in the 13th inning to relieve Brian Howard, a reliever himself at the time, Traver threw four innings of no-hit baseball while striking out six Aggies. He earned the win as TCU scored the winning run in the bottom of the 16th. It was a gutsy and thrilling performance, and one that TCU fans will remember for years to come.
Traver entered his redshirt junior year in 2016 being named a preseason All American by several national publications, but was once again hampered by injury. He hurt his back a couple of weeks before the season started, and wasn’t able to return to the mound until early May. He still played a major role in the postseason though. He got the Friday night start in the regional and earned the win over Oral Roberts with five shutout innings. In the College World Series semi finals he allowed just three earned runs on three hits over 6 1⁄3 innings, but didn’t get the run support he needed to send TCU to the finals.
Traver was drafted in the 17th round after his RS junior year by the Cincinnati Reds, but decided to return for his senior year hoping to finally lead TCU to a national championship. In fact, he was also drafted in the 28th round by the St. Louis Cardinals after his RS sophomore year, so that makes twice he turned down the draft to stay a Horned Frog.
His senior year the injury bug again kept him out for the first half of the season, but he came back and was a huge help at a time when the team really needed him. Jared Janczak was injured in the month of April and Traver stepped right into the rotation to help the Frogs make their push towards the postseason. He earned a win over Texas to keep TCU alive in the elimination bracket of the Big 12 Tournament, and started an elimination game against Florida in the College World Series which the Frogs also won to keep their season alive.
Traver was drafted in the 20th round of the 2017 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels, and that is where he will continue his baseball career. Although, I’m sure if he had the chance he’d still want to come back for one last ride with the Frogs. While we all feel for Traver’s struggles with injury over the course of his TCU career, we recognize that he was an incredible talent, and fans will always remember him fondly. Good luck in the show, Mitchell.